Technology raises the bar for customer experience in off the plan real estate sales
Sowing the Seeds
In an early episode of LinkedIn Co-founder Reid Hoffmann’s marvelous podcast, ‘Masters of Scale’ Airbnb Co-founder Brian Chesky spoke about his process in creating the ultimate customer experience, which is to “Design an 11-star experience”. What is that you ask? Well, in Brian’s words it is “create(ing) a total mindf**k experience that you tell everyone about.”
To do this, Brian Chesky took one part of the Airbnb customer journey and with his team imagined what a 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11-star experience would look like. Brian discusses how they envisaged the 11-star experience for ‘checking in’ at an Airbnb:
“So what would a 10-star check-in be? A 10-star check-in would be The Beatles check-in. In 1964. I’d get off the plane and there’d be 5,000 high school kids cheering my name with cars welcoming me to the country. I’d get to the front yard of your house and there’d be a press conference for me, and it would be just a mindf**k experience. So what would an 11-star experience be? I would show up at the airport and you’d be there with Elon Musk and you’re saying: ‘You’re going to space.’
Obviously, the 10 and 11-star experiences are neither practical nor scalable, but they sowed the seeds for Brian’s team to create amazing customer experiences.
“The point of the process is that maybe 9, 10, 11 are not feasible. But if you go through the crazy exercise, there’s some sweet spot between “They showed up and they opened the door” and “I went to space.” That’s the sweet spot.”
Using digital to enhance customer experience in off the plan real estate
Technology innovation has meant that many of your daily transactions will start and end via your smart device or computer. Need a fridge? You won’t visit or even call a store, you can research, compare, consider and purchase online. As soon as there is a diversion from the ordinarily seamless digital transaction, we feel inconvenienced verging on frustrated.
Why? Because suddenly this transaction does not meet the customer experience we are accustomed to elsewhere and that experience can be summed up in one word – convenient.
Off the plan real estate, unfortunately, lags behind the established real estate market on the customer experience front. In the established real estate market, buyers and sellers use a plethora of digital mediums in the buying process, from listing sites, buyer portals and virtual tours, bidding apps, and more.
All of this behaviour only accelerated due to the ramifications of the pandemic, of course.
Now we know off the plan sellers sometimes use listing sites, and of course, usually have slick estate websites, which is all good, but because these initial steps are now so digitally accessible, customers have higher standards and expectations for the entire buying process. Unfortunately, the accessibility often stops there.
In creating a great customer experience Sellers of off the plan real estate need to be mindful of not only who their target market is (cough, millennials), but where and how they make purchase decisions & transactions of all sizes.
We’ll give you a hint: it’s through the little palm-sized computer that doesn’t leave their side. Aussie Millennials spend on average 6.7 hours a day on their screens. (According to Reviews.Org)
Not taking this consumer behaviour into account can result in a poor customer experience and potentially even a lost deal. To navigate this shifting experience environment property developers and real estate agents require just two things: intent and adaptability.
Are you up for the challenge? We hope so.
To be successful in providing great customer experience, developers and agents can’t rely on one factor; they need to excel in several areas and we have broken 3 of these down for you.
Factors for customer experience success:
- Seamlessly connect products to customer (digital)
As part of KPMG Global Real Estate Innovations Report, released earlier this year, it was outlined that a large number of Proptech entrants in Australia are considered ‘Platforms to Connect’ whose impact can be measured by seamlessly connecting supply and demand.
Through the lens of off the plan real estate, seamlessly connecting property to buyers would mean that the buyer would be able to consider, compare, apply, accept, and transact all digitally and, ideally, in an automated flow with no requirement to call or email a sales consultant.
Customers should never feel excluded or disadvantaged. Astute property developers will identify the total target market in the lead up to a release, however good customer experience is ensuring that your sales process does not exclude or disadvantage those who might be inclined to participate and may be either geographically spread or unable to attend either physically or virtually at the opening time of a release.
Customers should be able to participate in a transaction from anywhere in the world, and should not need to be first in line in a physical or online queue to select their property preferences.
- Fairness & Transparency
This is something most purchasers want when buying real estate, however in the first-come, first-served model of off the plan sales, fairness or equitability simply cannot be achieved.
In times of high demand, it is not uncommon for buyers to queue in person for days before an off the plan release and online registrations are often oversubscribed minutes after opening.
When you consider that many buyers are looking for products in multiple developments and may have to join many queues before being successful in securing what they want, the current process is not just unfair it is incredibly stressful for buyers.
To improve this customer experience, property developers and agents now have an opportunity to adopt technology that allows buyers to participate in a release from the comfort of their own homes, and at any time during a scheduled release period, knowing that they have the same chance as everyone else to secure their dream property.
We are talking of course about Release.Me. Using an algorithm, the platform allocates the property based on preferences and if there are multiple applications with the same preference, the algorithm will assign the allocation randomly.
With all this said the ultimate goal when ideating customer experience, is to make the process easy and enjoyable for buyers.
So, what is the 11-star buyer experience for your off the plan release?
Improving customer experience should be a critical business objective and there has never been a simpler time to do so. There is a plethora of tools and tech that can be easily adopted that not only improve customer experience but deliver commercial and operational advantages too.
If you were to imagine an ‘11-star buyer experience’ for your off the plan release, would you consider convenience, simplicity, seamlessness, or fairness as key attributes? And, how will you modify your current buyer experience to look and feel more like your ’11-star experience’?
Let’s make your customer experience better, together.
Book a demo. Click me.